One of the major methodological challenges and issues in psychological research revolves around evidence generated from both quantitative and qualitative methods. Sometime the evidence is conflicting, lack scientific objectivity and can be interpreted in different ways. The challenge arises in interpreting evidence related to behaviors, causes, meaningful actions and intentional act. In other cases, there is a conflict between evidence collected using qualitative and quantitative research methods and the already known theory. Due to these challenges, it becomes difficult for clinical psychologists to come up with agreed approaches for treating psychological disorders. These challenges have agitated the need to look for ways to integrate qualitative and quantitative data in psychological research.
In psychology, evidence-based practice (EBP) requires all the practitioners to use and follow techniques and approaches that are based on the available research evidence in the field. On the other hand, practice-based evidence refers to the use of approaches that are based on practical field experiences that have already been documented in addressing psychological problems facing the patient. Evidence collected from research and practical field experiences show that some therapy techniques and approaches work better than others and should be utilized when addressing psychological disorders. There about three controversies associated with EPB. These include defining the evidence, applying research evidence and what is effective in practice
The DSM-5 that will be considered in this case is intellectual disability or mental retardation. This is a mental disorder that in most cases is diagnosed before a child attains 18 years, and it is associated with inadequate skills for daily living and intellectual functions that are below average. It is caused by various risk factors such infections, chromosomal abnormalities, toxic, metabolic among other causes. One of the modalities for treating this disorder is behavioral counseling. In this treatment modality, behavioral therapists help the patient to improve his or her coping and social skills through emphasizing on improving subjective feelings and behaviors. Gentile, Paulette and Gillie (2004) conducted a research to investigate how behavioral therapy helps in the treatment of mentally-retarded persons. They found that the modality helps in reducing mental distress and behavioral dysfunctions. It also helps to support patient’s copying skills and strengths.
Practice-based model will provide practitioners with crucial information on how to improve the treatment of mental disorder through behavioral therapy. First, the research found that behavioral therapy boosted the morale of the patient through providing structured and supportive relationship that is trusting, emotional and confidential. Secondly, the modality provides more responses to stress that are adaptive and reinforced. Finally, the new findings will help the practitioners to use structured treatment setting that enhances sanctuary, predictability and aura of safety during stressful periods. This would be very important in the treatment of persons with mental retardation and limited social networks and interpersonal relationships.
Despite the controversies surrounding evidence-based practice (EBP) and practice-based practice, it is very important for practitioners to look for ways to close the gap between practice and science in the treatment of psychological disorders. The practice will help to improve the efficiency of treatment methods applied in psychological disorders in a number of ways. First, it enables the practitioners to know what are “accepted evidences” in research and the procedures for collecting such evidences. Secondly, it will ensure both evidence and practice-based approaches have scientific objectivity and they are not prone to nature and needs of the subject under study. Finally, closing the gap between science and practice will minimize misinterpretation of the evidence collected during practice and research. There will be only a few accepted ways and procedures of interpreting such evidences.
Bauer, R. M. (2007). Evidence-based practice in psychology: Implications for research and research training. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63(7), 685-694.
Brendtro, L. K., Mitchell, M. L., &Doncaster, J. (2011). Practice-Based Evidence: Back to the Future. Reclaiming Children & Youth, 5-7.
Gentile, J.P. , Paulettea,M.G. & Gillig, P.M. (2004). Psychotherapy with the Mentally Ill/ Mentally Retarded Person. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 1(2), 49–54.